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What Is Humanistic Perspective In Psychology

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Problems With Humanistic Psychology

Psych 1 – 01.04.06: Humanistic Perspective

Even with the significant applications of humanistic approaches in different sectors and recognition within the field of psychology, there are also several problems with humanistic psychology.

Here are a few problems with humanistic psychology raised by critics:

  • The term “humanistic” has had different meanings dating back to the Renaissance. There is no consensus on what exactly is meant by the term, as there are other approaches that can also pass as humanistic, causing contradictions within humanistic psychology. B. F. Skinner once received the 1972 Humanist of the Year award given by the American Humanist Association, an example of that contradiction within the school of thought.
  • Critics also claim that humanistic psychology is simplistic. As pointed out by Rollo May3 , one support for this argument is the humanistic view’s failure to adequately discuss evil due to its emphasis on good qualities in people.
  • Humanistic psychology’s demand for relevance in its studies can negatively impact the process of scientific discovery. Critics have noted that studies from the past have laid the groundwork for more recent groundbreaking research, despite possibly not being relevant according to the humanistic approach.

Humanistic Theory In Psychology

Alfred Adler is considered to be the founding father of individual psychology. He was also one of the first psychological theorists to claim that the birth order in your family directly influences your personality. Adler thought that most humans have just one main goal: to feel important and like they belong.

Humanistic psychologists find that the way a person chooses to behave is directly influenced by their self-concept and their environment.

Humanistic psychologists consider how a person’s environment, including past experiences, has shaped the person into who they are now and guided them to make certain choices.

Humanistic psychology is made up of five core principles:

  • Human beings supersede the sum of their parts.

  • Each human is unique.

  • Human beings are aware and conscious beings with the capacity for self-awareness.

  • Human beings have free will, can make their own choices, and are responsible for their own choices.

  • Human beings intentionally work to achieve future goals. They also seek meaning, creativity, and value in life.

  • The humanistic theory focuses on a persons motivation and desire to be good and do good. The humanistic theory of personality also focuses on free will or the ability to choose personal outcomes.

    Humanistic Psychology Vs The Medical Model

    One of the basic principles of humanistic psychology is the belief that focus on an individual is more beneficial and informative than a focus on groups of individuals with similar characteristics. Humanism also stresses the importance of subjective reality as a guide to behavior.

    The medical model assumes that behavioral, emotional, and psychological issues are often consequences of physical problems thus, a medical approach to treatment should be taken. While this may be true of some conditions that result from physical damage, such as a traumatic brain injury, it can be problematic to apply a medical model to all mental health concerns.

    Some of the most obvious differences between mental and physical health issues lie in the nature and treatment of concerns. Mental health difficulties, unlike physical problems, often improve when the individual experiencing the difficulty speaks about what is wrong or talks through the issue. Further, physical illness may occur as a result of physiochemical interactions or the activity of pathogens, while mental health issues are often closely linked to interpersonal relationships.

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    Achieving An Ideal Life

    Carl Rogers described life in illustrations of principles instead of stages of development to reach or achieve he formed principles we live by as humans. This famous psychologist claimed that a healthy person would steadily strive to meet their potential by using these principles, which gains them the best and healthiest state of being. These people would let personality and self-concept come up from the experiences they have in daily life, allowing them to reach their ideal life and self.

    Ideal And Real Selves

    Approach timeline

    The ideal self and real self involve understanding the issues that arise from having an idea of what you wish you were as a person, and having that not match with who you actually are as a person . The ideal self is what a person believes should be done, as well as what their core values are. The real self is what is actually played out in life. Through humanistic therapy, an understanding of the present allows clients to add positive experiences to their real self-concept. The goal is to have the two concepts of self become congruent. Rogers believed that only when a therapist was able to be congruent, a real relationship occurs in therapy. It is much easier to trust someone who is willing to share feelings openly, even if it may not be what the client always wants this allows the therapist to foster a strong relationship.

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    Carl Rogers’ Views On Ideal Self Vs Real Self

    Rogers divided the self into two categories ideal and real self. The ideal self is the person you would like to be and the real self is what you really are. In the real world, a persons ideal self is not consistent with what happens in life with a person. Incongruence is the difference between the ideal self and actual experiences. Congruence is when our thoughts about our real self and ideal self are very similar i.e. our self-concept is very strong and accurate. High congruence leads to a greater sense of self-worth and a healthy, productive life.

    Brief History Of Humanistic Psychology

    The revolution of humanistic psychology first began in the 1960s.

    At this time, humanistic psychology was considered the third force in academic psychology and viewed as the guide for the human potential movement .

    The separation of humanistic psychology as its own category was known as Division 32. Division 32 was led by Amedeo Giorgi, who âcriticized experimental psychologyâs reductionism, and argued for a phenomenologically based methodology that could support a more authentically human science of psychologyâ .

    The Humanistic Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association was founded in September 1971 . Humanistic psychology had not fully emerged until after the radical behaviorism era however, we can trace its roots back to the philosophies of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger.

    Husserl spurred the phenomenological movement and suggested that theoretical assumptions be set aside, and philosophers and scientists should instead describe immediate experiences of phenomena .

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    History Of Humanistic Psychology

    The early development of humanistic psychology was heavily influenced by the works of a few key theorists, especially Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Other prominent humanist thinkers included Rollo May and Erich Fromm.

    In 1943, Abraham Maslow described his hierarchy of needs in “A Theory of Human Motivation” published in Psychological Review. Laterduring the late 1950s, Abraham Maslow and other psychologists held meetings to discuss developing a professional organization devoted to a more humanist approach to psychology.

    They agreed that topics such as self-actualization, creativity, individuality, and related topics were the central themes of this new approach. In 1951, Carl Rogers published “Client-Centered Therapy,” which described his humanistic, client-directed approach to therapy. In 1961, the Journal of Humanistic Psychology was established.

    It was also in 1961 that the American Association for Humanistic Psychology was formed and by 1971, humanistic psychology become an APA division. In 1962, Maslow published “Toward a Psychology of Being,” in which he described humanistic psychology as the “third force” in psychology. The first and second forces were behaviorism and psychoanalysis respectively.

    Whats The Difference Between Humanism And Humanistic Psychology

    Humanistic theory | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy

    Humanistic, humanism and humanist are terms in psychology relating to an approach which studies the whole person and the uniqueness of each individual. Essentially, these terms refer to the same approach in psychology. Humanistic psychology is a perspective that emphasizes looking at the the whole person, and the uniqueness of each individual.

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    What Is The Humanistic Theory In Psychology

    4.4/5Humanistic psychologyhumanistic psychologymore about it

    Humanistic Learning Theory, often called Humanism, focuses on the specific human capabilities including creativity, personal growth, and choice. Humanists believe people are good and noble.

    One may also ask, what is the goal of the humanistic theory? Goals of Humanistic TherapyThe aim of humanistic therapy is to help the client develop a stronger, healthier sense of self, as well as access and understand their feelings to help gain a sense of meaning in life.

    Similarly one may ask, what are the basic principles of humanistic psychology?

    The five basic principles of humanistic psychology are:

    • Human beings, as human, supersede the sum of their parts.
    • Human beings have their existence in a uniquely human context, as well as in a cosmic ecology.
    • Human beings are aware and are aware of being awarei.e., they are conscious.

    What are the main principles of the humanistic approach to learning?

    humanistic principlesSome core principles are important: respect for life and human dignity equal rights and social justice respect for cultural diversity, as well as a sense of shared responsibility and a commitment to international solidarity. These principles are all fundamental aspects of our common humanity.

    Concepts Birthed By The Humanistic Perspective

    There are a series of now standard themes and concepts in society which were birthed by the humanistic perspective. Many of the themes above have contributed to the advancement of psychotherapy approaches and overall comprehension of human behavior and many psychology students feel that its just as important as behavioral psychology.

    Free will, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and self-concept are some of the ideas that are now commonly discussed and employed because of the humanistic perspective. Free will pertains to the human ability to make choices and decisions on one’s own accord. In psychology, there are countless studies devoted to understanding the underlying factors that motivate people to make given choices.

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs also came about as a result of the humanistic perspective. Put simply, this particular concept maintains that each person has a series of needs in life. The most basic needs exist at the lower end of the hierarchy and serve as the most important. As the hierarchy increases, the needs become more psychological and dependent upon healthy interactions with society. The essentials listed on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

    Humanistic Perspective In Therapy

    Some frequently asked questions about this topic include:

    What is humanistic theory example?

    What do humanistic theorist believe?

    What is Maslow’s humanistic theory?

    Who is known for humanistic theory?

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    Humanistic Perspective Of Psychology

    Humanistic Psychology looks at the individual from a holistic perspective and lays a lot of stress on the concepts like self-actualization, free-will and self-efficacy. Instead of focusing on individual limitations, the objective of this school of thought is to facilitate people realize their potential to the fullest and improve their lives.

    Also referred to as Humanism, this school of thought emerged around 1950s, in reaction to the then prevalent theories behaviourism and psychoanalysis which dominated at that point of time. The focus of psychoanalysis was on analyzing the unconscious patterns that influence behaviour, whereas behaviourism analyzed the conditioning process that rules the behaviour.

    Humanistic perspective considered psychoanalysis and behaviourism as very narrow focused and pessimistic since the emphasis was on tragic emotions or negative thoughts. Humanistic perspective has provided an entirely new dimension to the study of human behaviour which is quite comprehensive and holistic.

    Humanistic Theory Of Personality By Carl Rogers


    Carl Rogers is an American psychologist that believed that humans had the ability to change and grow into better people. Rogers believed that a person needed an environment that had empathy and genuineness so that they could become a good person. Rogers believed that it was not possible for a human to learn how to have healthy relationships and be healthy without this environment.

    Carl Rogers believed that there are three parts to your beliefs about yourself :

    Carl Rogers believed that these three components need to be congruent and overlap with each other in order to achieve self-actualization.

    Fg. 2 All three components contribute to self-concept. StudySmarter original.

    Rogers believed that in order for you to attain your goals and live a good life, you need to hold to certain life principles. He found that people who were functioning at their fullest potential had these principles in common. Rogers also said that the process of living a good life is constantly changing, which means that every person can start now to change the future.

    Principles of a Good Life:

  • Being open to experience.

  • Rogers, C. . On becoming a person: A therapists view of psychotherapy . HarperOne.
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    The Humanistic Theory In Education

    In history humanistic psychology is an outlook or system of thought that focuses on human beings rather than supernatural or divine insight. This system stresses that human beings are inherently good, and that basic needs are vital to human behaviors. Humanistic psychology also focuses on finding rational ways to solve these human problems. At its root, the psychology of humanism focuses on human virtue. It has been an important movement throughout history, from Greek and Latin roots to Renaissance and now modern revivals.

    This theory and approach in education takes root in humanistic psychology, with the key concepts focusing on the idea that children are good at the core and that education should focus on rational ways to teach the whole child. This theory states that the student is the authority on how they learn, and that all of their needs should be met in order for them to learn well. For example, a student who is hungry wont have as much attention to give to learning. So schools offer meals to students so that need is met, and they can focus on education. The humanistic theory approach engages social skills, feelings, intellect, artistic skills, practical skills, and more as part of their education. Self-esteem, goals, and full autonomy are key learning elements in the humanistic learning theory.

    The principles of humanistic learning theory.

    What Is Humanistic View Of Learning

    Humanistic Learning Theory, often called Humanism, focuses on the specific human capabilities including creativity, personal growth, and choice. Learners can be trusted to find their own goals and should have some options or choices in what they learn at school.

    What is humanism in simple words?

    Humanism is a philosophy or a way of thinking about the world. Humanism is a set of ethics or ideas about how people should live and act. People who hold this set of ethics are called humanists. Views held by many humanists include: Humans deserve respect.

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    Humanistic Psychology And Its Key Aspects

    Humanistic psychology, which appeared in the mid-20th century in the United States, is distinguished by a holistic approach to the person. This direction considers people as strong-willed and striving for self-actualization. The emergence of humanistic psychology was a response to the shortcomings of two other prevailing approaches behaviorism and psychoanalysis, and as a consequence, it became the third force in psychology. According to the humanistic directions founders, the first approach was too attached to biological mechanisms, and the second focused on pathologies in person. Humanists sought to understand people in terms of their potential and maximum capabilities.

    The direction gained its maximum popularity in the 1950-the 1960s in America. Its representatives, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Rollo May, and other psychologists, received significant recognition among colleagues. Moreover, humanistic psychology has attracted many Americans to therapy and self-actualization practices. However, having reached the peak of popularity in the early 70s, humanistic psychology significantly lost its influence. Despite the directions rapid fading, some ideas still became part of mainstream psychology.

    Abraham Maslows Hierarchy Of Needs

    Introduction to Humanistic Approach – AQA A Level Psychology

    Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who is best known for proposing a hierarchy of human needs in motivating behavior. Maslow described a pattern through which human motivations generally move, meaning that in order for motivation to occur at the next level, each level must be satisfied within the individual themselves. These stages include:

    Furthermore, this theory is a key foundation in understanding how drive and motivation are correlated when discussing human behavior. Each of these individual levels contains a certain amount of internal sensation that must be met in order for an individual to complete their hierarchy. The goal in Maslows theory is to attain the fifth level or stage of self-actualization.

    Figure 2. Diagram of Maslows hierarchy of needs. Maslows hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization and transcendence at the top. In other words, the crux of the theory is that individuals most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher-level needs.

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    Signs You Need Therapy

    A person may need therapy if they are having problems at work or with relationships, drinking or doing drugs too much, not knowing what to do with their life, etc. A therapist will ask people questions and listen to them talk about their life in order to help them figure out what is wrong and how they can fix it.

    People often need more than one session though at least several weeks or months. Therapy is not something done overnight. People need time to change their lives and build new skills. Once people know what they want and how to get it. They will feel more in control of their lives.

    What Does A Humanistic Psychologist Do

    A humanistic psychologist helps people reconnect with themselves by focusing on what they truly desire. And using that as motivation to make the necessary changes in their life. People have a hard time solving their own problems. Because they dont always know what they really want or who they are deep inside. Humanistic psychologists help people recognize these things and then work toward achieving the things that are most important to them. Using motivation derived from personal desires rather than imposed by well-meaning But impersonal rules and regulations.

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